No one said being an entrepreneur would be easy. In the last 2 years of officially being in business for myself, as with most jobs that require customer services, I have met all kinds of people; some that have a special place forever in my heart, and others… well.
Without become a bitter artist, and complaining about my worth and knowledge of my trade, etc, I just want to remind the world to be kind.
Just be kind.
We all have our place in this world, we all have strengths and weaknesses, and different talents. Regardless of what you do, you want people to treat you with respect and appreciation. As an artist, I have had all kinds of reactions to my art. Some love it, some are indifferent. I get it, I respect that visually, we all like different things. But again, BE KIND. For those of you that know me personally, you know I go above and beyond to make you happy. I care, not only because this is my business, but because I love what I do. I love making beautiful things.
Now, the inspiration for this article came from a most recent experience, just a few days ago. Here is how it went and why it hurt my feelings (wahhhh I know, but hey, I’m human too!)
A potential client contacted me over a month ago for a project. When we spoke, she was very concerned with budget and I explored different options with her over a phone call. At the end of the call, she asked me to save a date and would be in contact in a few weeks to plan the project. Now usually I require a deposit to hold a date, but as our convo was in the very early stages, I did not push it upon the client, assuming we would solidify our collaboration soon in a follow up conversation.
A month goes by… no word. Now, when this happens, it usually means the client has changed their mind about the project. And as busy wedding season approaches, I could only hold the date so long without a confirmed plan or budget. How about if I didn’t agree to your idea of what my services would cost and contain?
A week before the proposed event, I get a text saying, be here at this location at this time, see you there.
Um, no you won’t. What about if I need to bring a team? Rent equipment? What are you even hiring me for after all? How much are you paying me?
Let me break it down.
When you want to cater a party, you need a service and you want to confirm that service before they get booked up, right? You want to make sure that on this date, they are available to bring lasagna, veggies, pasta, and salads, etc. and you want to make sure the price fits your needs.
How is the catering company going to proceed with your order without a deposit, a list of things you need, and an agreed final payment amount for all services included? That restaurant is not going to hold it’s breath, save the date and miss out on other opportunities, just to perhaps find out, day of, that there is no gig after all! What are they going to do with all that lasagna?! How many pieces of lamb do you need? How many staff will I need to schedule to make this happen? See the analogy?
It works the same for any kind of service based business. If I never took deposits for bookings, I wouldn’t ever make any money.
In the beginning of my career, I relied on people’s word to show up… and many days, I was left hanging. I know things come up, and things happen, but respect my time as I respect yours.
Confirm the date, follow up if you can! I follow up 99% of the time when I see there is a genuine interest in creating something. But if I see that a project is crippled because of budget beyond my control and ability to “cater” to, you probably won’t hear from me. No offence.
In response to me informing the potential client that they day was no longer available, I was told off. Called unprofessional, among other things. I understand where the anger came from, and I feel for that person, they are stressed, but in business you have to be aware that your service provider also has a life and a business to run and you must be conscious of that. I need to first agree to your terms, and you to mine. Sending a text after over a month of no contact with only a time and date, does not guarantee your booking. Services cost money.
I did not respond in anger, I explained that there was no confirmed plan or budget and therefore, no official booking. I could have returned with words of anger, but I am just not about that.
Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy, I have had to develop a bit of a thicker skin. But at the end of the day, and this my advice from one professional to another, I am always kind, so be kind, even to those who treat you unfairly.
I will always try my best to make you smile. I customize packages at the costs of my own profits because I get it, life is tough, making money is tough, but this is my career, and I would appreciate it respected as such.
Thank you for reading.